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Courts & Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2023, Now Commenced.

  • Children Born in Ireland Can Now Apply for Citizenship After 3 Years, Reduced from 5 Years.
  • Deportation orders can be issued, without the option for voluntary return, where a person is a threat to national security or convicted of a serious offence.

Minister for Justice Mrs Helen McEntee TD has commenced the majority of the provisions of the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2023, with effect from 31st July. The Act contains wide-ranging legislative amendments which will help improve access to justice and make civil processes more efficient, streamlined and people-centred.
The Act contains amendments to matters including Irish nationality and citizenship, court offices, bankruptcy, international protection, data protection, immigration and legal services.

The residency requirement for children born in Ireland, who are of a different nationality, to apply for citizenship has now been reduced from five years to three years.
Since the Citizenship referendum, which was enacted in 2004, children born to non-Irish residents in the State have an automatic right to Irish citizenship only if one of the parents is an Irish citizen or is entitled to be one.

Minster McEntee said: “I am delighted to commence this legislation which reduces the amount of time a child, who was born in Ireland, but doesn’t have automatic citizenship must be resident here before being eligible for naturalisation. The reduction to three years will provide comfort and certainty to children and their families and enable our young citizens to flourish and fully participate in Irish life.”

Persons convicted of serious offences can now be served with a deportation order without the option of leaving the State voluntarily, which will also have the effect of preventing their return to the State.

Minister McEntee said: “Where a person is being removed from the State, having been convicted of a serious crime, or where they are a threat to the security of the state, they will no longer have the option to depart the country voluntarily. This means they cannot evade deportation from the State and cannot return to the State once deported. This is an important change that will strengthen the role of our immigration legislation in relation to public safety.”

The legislation also amends the Immigration Act 1999 to allow immigration authorities to serve documents electronically. This will allow for people to be contacted about their immigration decisions under the Act by email or through a customer portal where applicable. There have been many examples where people have changed their address and may not have notified the Department, making them hard to reach by post. This change will enable the Department to send important notices, including deportation orders, even when a person may have moved.

While electronic service is not intended to fully replace other modes of service already provided for under current legislative provisions, it will allow more flexibility and efficiency for customers. The changes will also support ongoing modernisation of the immigration service delivery, including the introduction of a digital customer portal that will be rolled out over the coming years.

Minister McEntee said: “It is important that our immigration system is fair, balanced and rules-based. Where a person has a right to international protection it is important that that person can be granted international protection as quickly as possible. However, when a person’s immigration application has been denied, and where their avenues of appeal have been exhausted, it is important that the person is returned to their home country as quickly as possible.
The amendments to the International Protection Act will reduce administrative burdens and improve the digital services available to customers. If for example, a person has changed address but not notified the Immigration Service, we will be able to issue that immigration decision by email.”

The Act introduces a number of changes to increase efficiencies in the Courts Service. It provides for the establishment of a centralised office within the Courts Service to administer the summoning of juries, increasing the efficiency of this process. This will be complemented by the Court Service’s ongoing rollout of its modernisation programme, including their online customer portal which allow people to respond to their jury summonses online rather than by post.

The legislation also enables the Courts Service to designate any court office as a centralised office for the purpose of carrying out specified court business exclusively or in addition to a local office.

Amendments to the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 paves the way for the introduction of partnerships between solicitors and barristers or between barristers and other barristers. This is a key development in the modernisation of how legal services can be provided to consumers, private or enterprise, on a more competitive basis. Barristers and solicitors will be able to jointly provide legal services for the first time, increasing the range of services and expertise available to their clients.

Minister McEntee said: “Having in place administrative processes that are fast, efficient and simple to navigate is essential to improving access to justice for our citizens.
The amendments I have commenced today across a range of civil areas will simplify and improve the legal processes, as people go through what are often personally challenging and stressful situations.”

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